iHarvest adds a vertical garden to your living space
Imagine being able to harvest fresh veggies precisely when you need them without leaving the house. That's the promise of indoor gardens like the OGarden Smart and the Cell One. Now IGWorks is making a bid for your living space with a vertical hydroponics garden called the iHarvest that can simultaneously grow up to 30 fruits and vegetables.
Currently raising production funds over on Kickstarter, the iHarvest requires users to give over just 2.5 sq ft of floor space for the provision of year-round fresh fruit and veg, including leafy greens, tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers, fruit like strawberries and watermelon and even beans.
"All the existing systems were either too small to grow real food or too ugly to enjoy with your family and friends," said Dave Stevens of California-based IGWorks. "We knew that the answer lied in hydroponics; however, the existing systems were either unattractive, cumbersome, costly or challenging to use. I wanted an attractive, indoor garden that could easily fit into the smallest apartment, while also providing enough produce to help feed a family year-round."
IGWorks reckons that kitchen gardeners can look forward to harvesting crops up to 50 percent faster than traditional outdoor vegetable growing techniques, while using 20 times less water. And you don't need to mess around with nasty pesticides or herbicides either.
iHarvest users will need to place the non-GMO seeds into a growing medium before loading up the pods into the self-contained vertical garden, adding water and then waiting for harvest time.
There's a trellis support system for growing hangers like squash and cucumber, the low maintenance unit draws just 70 W of power, operation is fully automated – though full spectrum LED lights give growers control over sunrise and sunset cycles – and the system is not dependent of favorable weather to produce a bumper crop.
The Kickstarter campaign has already exceeded its modest funding target with about a month left on the project clock. Pledges start at US$499, representing quite a saving on the expected retail price of $850.
Each iHarvest comes with 50 net cups, growing medium, seeds and a nutrient starter kit (presumably IGWorks will cater for subsequent stock replenishment too). If all goes to plan, shipping is estimated to start in September. The video below has more.
Sources: IGWorks, Kickstarter
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But they claim their product to be suitable for fruits like strawberries and tomatoes. How are we supposed to pollinate them? Manually? By putting a beehive inside your house?
They also claim their product to be suitable for large plants like tomatoes, zucchini and watermelons. My tomato plants usually are 60-90 cm (2-3 feet) tall but can sometimes reach 1m50 (6 feet) depending on the species. Squash, cucumber, zucchini and watermelon (which also need pollination) are large plants that sprawl over many square meters. How do they grow them by using "only 2.5 square feet"?
I'm afraid many will be disappointed.